Darwin and DarwinBot
The problem facing Microsoft developer Jordan Correa and his wife was hardly an uncommon one. They both have full time jobs (that's not the problem), but they also have an adorable dog Darwin that is left alone for about eight hours each day. Correa decided to keep his pup active and virtually bridged their physical divide by building his own telepresence robot using Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio, a Kinect and a pile of other parts. Jordan can connect to his pup by dialing into the bot via Skype, allowing him to bark commands, pilot it around the house with an Xbox 360 controller and even play catch using the integrated ball launcher. The Parallax-powered platform can even dispense treats and autonomously retrieve the ball with a retractable arm. To see DarwinBot in action check out the video after the break.

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DarwinBot is a surrogate play partner for man's best friend